Survival Guide to SDCC 2011

It is that time of the year again. The time of joy and laughter where comic book fans, Twilight fans and Glee fans co-exist. The time to dress up as a super hero, anime character, Disney princess or video game protagonist even though it is not Halloween. The time when you wait in long lines, take lots of pictures and eat bad convention food. Tme for San Diego Comic Con 2011!

This blog post is reminiscent to that of the Survival Guide to SD Comic-Con 2010 I wrote last year. As you must know by now, this week, starting this Wednesday is San Diego Comic-Con (Woooh!) and Comic Vine is going to be there to cover as much of the experience as possible for users that are not able to go. Yet, according to what I read in the comment section to the SDCC Meet Up Information article, a lot of CV users are going to attend this glorious event.

I have attended the convention for a few years now and there are a few things you should remember when going to cons. Here are a couple suggestions to create this years Survival Guide to SDCC 2011! (If you feel like there's anything that needs to be added please let us all know in the comments)


  • Backpack I always say this: Take a backpack. Comic-Con is very well known for free stuff so you will need a place where to put it all. Also, you will be tempted to buy things!
  • Money The place to buy collectibles, books, trades, comics and t-shirts is here! The convention floor is where everything will be accessible to you if you bring money. Otherwise, you will get a whole lot of window shopping and regret done.
  • Water Even more important than a backpack is to take water. It gets crowded, it is hot and you walk a lot. Keeping yourself hydrated is very important throughout the whole day. One water bottle will be enough since the convention center is full of water fountains where you can get free refills.
  • Comics There will be chances to get a creator's autograph. If you do your research you can figure out who is going to be there and where (Check SDCC's webpage for all that information). This is the moment where you would take your comics to be autographed by the creators. Do not make the same mistake I made my first year and get all your autographs on a lousy piece of paper. (This goes for whatever other merchandise you will like to get signed)
  • Sketch Book I can guarantee that most of your favorite comic book artists will be at Artist Alley. If you are one of the sorts of people who like artists' sketches then do not forget a Sketch Book.
  • Comfortable Shoes I can not stress this enough: You will walk a lot. Take comfortable shoes and if your costume does not require heels then do not even think about them.
  • Toothpaste & Deodorant It is a crowded space which embodies a whole lot of body odor you might not want to smell. Do the rest of the world a favor and take the necessary precautions so you do not add to this odor stampede.
  • Snacks I sometimes forget to eat meals and at Comic-Con there are a lot of distractions which will, most likely, make me miss a meal. So, take a snack, it will help you get through the day. If you can, try not to take junk food.
  • Hat & Sunglasses If you plan on going to panels, it is likely you will be in line for quite some time. It is also likely that the line will be so long that it will reach outside. Be prepared and take a hat and some sunglasses, just in case.
  • Friends My first year at SDCC was pretty lonely because I went by myself. If you want to enjoy this experience fully you need someone to "geek out" with. If you are going alone remember that the people there are all comic book/video game/anime geeks like yourself. Do not be afraid to make new friends!


  • Arrive Early! Throughout the whole experience you will be in lots of lines. The longest one will probably be to get in. If you want to enter the convention center to see... anything, then get there early. 9 am is too late!
  • Sleep Get a good night's rest so that you are ready for next day's shenanigans.
  • Take Pictures. There will be cosplayers all over!
  • Sideshow Collectibles One of the highlights of the convention is the Sideshow Collectibles booth. It is one of the largest and most breathtaking expositions of collectibles you will ever see. Take pictures and lick the exhibits before noon so that you don't get clobbered by the millions of people trying to do the same.
  • Buy Comics & Trades The convention is the perfect place to shop! Comic books that you need to complete your collection will probably be there, be sure to shop. Also, this is the best place to buy trades since they are usually 50% off.
  • Ask Questions Panels usually have a Q&A section where audience members can go up to the microphone to ask questions. Do not be shy. People in the industry are truly interested in your questions. If you are interested in heading to the mic be sure to think your question through. You do not want to be the guy/girl who confuses Adam Hughes for Robert Kirkman.


  • Cafeteria Food Do not eat the food, it is bad. Period. There are plenty of restaurants outside of the convention center.
  • Convention Center Parking If you're driving to the convention, it might be cheaper to park off-site (like at the Old Town transit center) and take the trolley to the convention center.
  • Booth Babes They are pretty to look at and take pictures with but remember: They are only doing their job. So do not even try (You know what I mean!).
  • Fanboys/girls I do not think that is necessary for me to point this out but there are a lot of fans who love to hate. There are also a lot of Glee and Twilight fans who are not interested in the convention itself. Try to avoid these people and focus on your fellow geeks.

If you have any Con experience at all, comment below to give your input to the Survival Guide. If you are going to SDCC this year be sure to say hi if you see me at the Convention floor and hopefully I will see you at Sloppy Joey's on Friday at 8pm.

-- Geo (sora_thekey) 24/7 geek! -- Follow me on Twitter: @sora_thekey

11 Comments Refresh
Posted by haydenclaireheroes

awesome survival guide Sora

Posted by Kallarkz

Great guide sir. 
lol yes respecting the booth babes is a very important item. People mistake them for another type of hot dressed lady and go too far. 
Having cash on you is important, but people should still be cautious with how much they spend.  
Buy things that you actually want and will enjoy, the economy is still bad. 
Comic Con!

Edited by pikahyper

10+ year SDCC veteran here and I got some things you forgot for your list:  


  • sunscreen 
  • cologne/fabreeze/body spray 
  • maps/directions for outside the convention center if you aren't local (hotel, parking, food, bars, movie theaters)
  • condoms (lot of uses)
  • couple dollars in change squirreled away somewhere in case you spend all your money and need bus/trolley fare (cause nobody spends change at a con)
  • if you plan on getting dvds/bootlegs bring a mini DVD player with you to check the merchandise before you leave the booth
  • if you plan on having sex at the convention center bring a spotter and stick to upstairs
  • MP3 or PSP/DS, can't read all the time and some of those lines are a nightmare
Don't Bring 
  • babies (if you have two or more babies don't you dare !!!)
  • strollers (especially the massive ones)
  • child leashes (not a good move) 
  • glitter (damn glitter, sparkle elsewhere) 
  • weapons or anything that can be used as a weapon
  • drugs (being on drugs at SDCC is not fun)
Posted by nazer858

Great guide. The one thing I'd add is that if you plan on attending a bunch of panels, plan your schedule out and make note that you won't be able to get into everything you want to. Most of the bigger panels (Hall H, Ballroom 20, where most of the movie/TV stuff is) require at least 2 hours in line to get a decent seat, and a big thing that a lot of first timers miss is that they do not clear the rooms. So if you want to check out something in Hall H at 4:00PM, I'd probably hit up that line between 1-2ish. It's a bummer I know, but make note that you're surrounded by hundreds of other fans as well, so strike up a conversation, everyone is generally pretty nice.

And always have a plan B, there is ALWAYS something else to do. And check out the awesomeness that is my hometown of San Diego, enjoy the weather. See you guys tomorrow!

Posted by DomDom

Awesome guide! =) 
I've never been to a Comic-Con, but Someday! 
It's on me and lil sis's (things ta do before we die) Lists... =D 
Posted by JoeyF


Posted by NightFang
@haydenclaireheroes said:
awesome survival guide Sora
Posted by DarkShadows

I wish I can go.
But one day... one day, I will be there!

Posted by KRYPTON

Great guide, I think I've followed some of these rules in years past. 

Edited by jamesewelch

Also, if a guy is threatening to stab you with a pen, then just back off... or you might get stabbed in the eye. Seeing your favorite comic book creator isn't worth losing an eye.

Posted by zombietag

good guide, enjoyed this article